Yesterday, Canada’s Foreign Minister, John Baird MP, visite
d the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad at the Fazl Mosque in London. His Excellency, Gordon Campbell, the Canadian High Commissioner to the UK and other members of staff were also present at the meeting which lasted around forty minutes.
During the meeting, the Foreign Minister mentioned how the Canadian Government was in the process of setting up an ‘Office of Religious Freedom’ and sought the views of His Holiness about how such an Office should function. In response, His Holiness explained that Islam taught that every person should be free to practise his religion openly an
d without fear of discrimination. He said that irrespective of religious differences, all members of a society should live together with a spirit of unity, peace and tolerance and that this was what the Office of Religious Freedom should strive to achieve throughout the world.
His Holiness spoke about the persecution faced by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat in various countries, most notably in Pakistan. Speaking about the situation there, he said, that quite apart from religious persecution, the community were deprived also of their basic civic rights. His Holiness said:
“In Pakistan all Ahmadi Muslims are denied their basic rights. We are unable to call ourselves Muslims or use Islamic terms. My name is Masroor, but in Pakistan if somebody calls me this, then that person can be arrested and punished. Thus such laws that persecute and curtail basic rights must
be changed. It is essential that religious views should not impact or interfere with Government policies.”